Written by Rick Harbison Monday, 31 July 2017 00:00
This is a race I make every effort to get to (five years in a row now!). It's great to see all the work they're putting into the trails up there and the event just keeps getting bigger and better every year. Plus it's home turf...
In the past few years, it's been 80+ degrees and sunny on race day with the sun blazing down as you climb the slopes of Sugarloaf out in the open, so it wasn’t necessarily a bad change of pace for it be cool, wet, and rainy. I threw on a new set of Schwalbe Racing Ralphs and I was happy with how well they tracked through the slop, though some sections were just unrideable. I installed a RockShox Reverb dropper post recently and it came in handy on the longer technical descents, but after this race, I'm starting to seriously consider full suspension.
The 50k course was essentially the same as the last few years, with a tad more climbing around the base lodge. The final climb up to the Stratton Brook Hut was a nice addition to the course, although it is a doozy. I taped Gu's to the top tube for the first time, which worked well, and went with Accelerade for the water bottles. Per usual I toed the line between maximal effort and debilitating cramps. Only had a few mini seize ups on the last climb, so seemed about right.
All in all, happy to have done the race and completed it with no issues -- no flats, no losing water bottles, no taking a wrong turn… My time was a little slower than last year, but hard to compare with a slightly different course and much wetter conditions. Thanks to Bikeman for the support, and looking forward to next year!
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